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Athlete Ally’s Hudson Taylor Explains Athletes' Silence on Gay Rights in Sochi


On a SXSW panel discussion about the intersection of LGBT issues and sports, Athlete Ally’s Hudson Taylor shared his thoughts on the surprising lack of Olympic athletes who publicly spoke out in Sochi about Russia’s anti-gay laws. 

S2_sxswTaylor said he was originally optimistic about using the international spotlight of the Olympic platform to advocate for LGBT equality and pointed to the numerous current and former athletes (and even Rihanna) who embraced his Principle 6 protest campaign before the Games began. Ultimately, however, Taylor said that the dozen or so Olympic athletes who both competed in Sochi and were also backers of his Principle 6 campaign failed to garner the medals that would have provided them with the necessary media coverage to truly make a lasting statement. 

'68 olympicsTaylor also pointed to the iconic 1968 Olympic photo of John Carlos and Tommie Smith raising their fists in protest of racial injustice and lamented the reality that a similar push for gay rights failed to materialize in Sochi. 

But despite the missed opportunity, Taylor said he was looking ahead to the 2018 World Cup in Russia) and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as future opportunities to use an international sporting event to shine a light on discriminatory laws. Qatar remains one of the countries where homosexuality is still illegal

In my skinIn the meantime, Taylor stressed the need for LGBT athletes and their straight allies to stand up and speak out against the culture of homophobia in sport. He pointed to fellow panelist Brittney Griner (who was there discussing her new book In My Skin) as a great example of an athlete who is changing the sporting world just by being out and proud. Ultimately, however, Taylor said there is much work to be done in order to make the sporting world a more comfortable place for LGBT athletes. 

“While the reality is we’ve seen a lot of progress in the sports world over the last few years, we still have a long way to go,” Taylor said. “There are still a lot of closeted athletes. There are still people being bullied, being isolated because of their sexual orientation. We still only have one [gay athlete] in the NBA and maybe one in the [upcoming] NFL.”

Dentist Gives Gay Hate Crime Victim Free Six-Figure Dental Reconstruction: VIDEO


Some of you may recall the anti-gay attack which took place in Austin, Texas in September 2012 targeting Andrew Oppelman and his friend Nick Soret while they were waiting for a slice of pizza from a mobile food truck in the Warehouse District.

A_oppelmanOppelman had nine teeth knocked out in the attack.

But a good samaritan has since stepped in, KVUE reports:

An Austin dentist who heard about the story wanted to help Oppelman. Dr. Gary Cash, D.D.S. stepped in, and for a year and a half has provided free dental reconstruction, including implants for Oppelman.

On Friday, Oppelman got to see his new upper implants, which gives him more of a reason to smile.

“It's just been hard on the inside more for me than the outside, not because of how people see me, but how I feel about myself,” said Oppelman.

Cash said he did the procedure for free because Austin has given so much to him in the three years the Detroit native has lived here. “People have been so warm and welcoming to me here. I figured that's not the way someone should be treated from out of town,” said Dr. Cash. The dentist also says that the Victim’s Relief Fund helped to pay for a huge portion of the work which would cost six figures.



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Suspect Confesses To Brutal Murder Of A Gay Man In Austin, TX

Earlier this month, police in Austin, TX, were on the hunt for the lead suspect of the murder of David Villarreal. They had managed to obtain images of the suspect, thanks to a security camera that captured him leaving the building. Early last week, that hunt finally came to a close, as police managed to identify and arrest Matthew Bacon, who reportedly confessed to the murder according to KVUE News

DavidVillarealAccording to authorities, Villarreal brought Bacon home on the night of July 12 after the two met at downtown bar known as "Rain". One inside, Bacon then murdered Villarreal using both a knife and a hammer, before then stealing his iPod, iPhone, Xbox and Kindle. Authorities managed to track Bacon to the Belton hotel, where he sold Villarreal's stolen items before booking a room with his stolen credit card. By the time they were finally able to pinpoint his location, Bacon had already been sent to a Louisiana jail due to drug charges. He is currently being held there on $500,000 bond. 

Villarreal's father told reporters that “we're Christians, and we believe in forgiveness. We forgive, but there's laws in the country, and he broke the laws in this country, and he has to pay for that.” Meanwhile, his close friend Bradley Barmer spoke to Bacon directly:

"David was stolen from us, and we're never going to get him back...David was such a generous person. He had no attachment to his stuff; he would have given it to you. There's just not a lot to take away from a senseless crime like this."

Texas Bar Changes Ownership, Kicks Out Gay Patrons: VIDEO

Red Room
The Red Room opened as a gay bar in Austin, but according to former bartender Josh Moon the new owners decided they wanted to re-identify as a straight bar. Last Friday, they began kicking out gay people.

According to Moon, he and the other bartenders were told that Red Room is no longer a gay bar and he allegedly overheard a security guard explicitly telling potential customers, "This is not a gay bar anymore, you're not welcome. You can't come in."

The owners of Red Room, speaking through a lawyer, claimed that a private party who had rented out the bar for the night were the ones who made the "no gays allowed" decision, something they had a legal right to do, though a Facebook invite for the event called it a "Grand Opening", not a private function. 

Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identification is illegal in Austin under City Code § 5-2-4 subsection (B), and thus could result in legal trouble for the bar if they are found to be in violation. A video of the news report from KHOU can be seen AFTER THE JUMP...

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Austin Police Release Photo Of Suspect In Gay Man's Death: VIDEO

Austin police have released surveillance images of the suspect in the death of gay resident David Villarreal. Villarreal, 36, was found dead in his downtown condo on Monday with signs of trauma to his body after meeting the suspect at a local gay club over the weekend.

The Austin American-Statesman reports:

AustinThe images show Villarreal and a man in his 20s to 30s (pictured right) entering the condo tower at 360 Nueces Street sometime early Saturday morning, a police official said.

Police believe the victim and suspect met Friday night at the nearby downtown club Oilcan Harry's and made their way back to the tower early Saturday. The suspect was then seen leaving the towers about an hour later.

"I have a strong feeling we'll catch this guy," said Sgt. Brian Miller.

Investigators believe Villarreal may have been dead two days before a friend called police expressing concern.

Police declined to elaborate on Villarreal's cause of death, or other details in the case.

Watch a news report on the developing case, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Your Morning Wake-Up Call is an 80-Year-old Bridge Implosion: VIDEO


Because there's nothing quite like a bridge demolition to get your heart pumping in the morning, here's what happened yesterday in Marble Falls, Texas, a town approximately 45 miles northwest of Austin.

The 80-year-old US 281 bridge over the Colorado River was imploded in a controlled explosion lasting a split second in front of a group of enthusiastic spectators. The blast cut fiber optic cables, cutting off telephone and communications services to a wide area.

This was not a SXSW-sanctioned event.


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